Police swoop on Newham’s uninsured drivers

Crooks were targeted during a London-wide police crackdown on illegal motorists.

Criminals were targeted during a London-wide police crackdown on illegal motorists.

Operation Reclaim saw thousands of cars stopped and checked or scanned using high-tech number plate readers.

Officers from Newham joined nearly 1,000 other Metropolitan Police colleagues during the blitz on Wednesday (19 October).

In Newham, two people were arrested one stealing a car and one for forged documents. A total of 45 vehicles were caught for various offences ranging from no insurance to no tax and 35 vehicles where seized.

Commander Steve Watson, who headed Wednesday’s operation, said: “The majority of uninsured drivers are also habitual criminals. Those engaged in criminality will use vehicles to transport themselves across London and beyond to commit crime. They will also use vehicles to carry weapons, drugs and stolen property.”

Latest figures put the annual cost of uninsured driving at �500million – or about �30 extra per insurance premium for honest motorists. About 23,000 people are injured and 160 people killed by uninsured and untraced drivers every year.

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London’s top policeman Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “We know from experience approximately eight per cent of uninsured drivers are criminals. They’re also more likely to be involved in crashes and have unsafe cars so we’re taking this action to make London’s roads safer.

“Driving without insurance is an offence and this operation will seize the cars of those who ignore the law, while reclaiming the roads for London’s responsible and law abiding drivers.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Operation Reclaim is designed - quite literally - to deliver a crushing blow against crime. Bernard Hogan-Howe demonstrated its success in Merseyside where crime fell by 40 per cent and this new push in London shows how serious we all are about making the city safer.